Poems inspired by Ode to Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
Ullapool Creative Writing Group
Why have one spice when
You can have plenty
Start with the C’s
Coriander and Chilli
Then bung in the G’s
Garlic and Ginger
And Garam Masala
Stir up the sauce
Throw in the meat
Stir for a while
Building the heat
Serve up from the pan
And gone in a flash
I’m not cooking it but I am going to let it rest
A Barolo uncorked and decanted
Waiting to add its richness
To the plateful of venison that’s just been offered.
Precursor to a Sunday afternoon without ambition
Save woozy board games and
A word from my teenage son to acknowledge
Attend to the bread.
Notice its softness
its yielding brown
the brow of the crust
and thank it for
what it is about to give up.
Attend to the toaster
resplendent in silver livery
its flex ushering electricity
from power stations
and hydro dams
Offer it to its mouth
its iron grill
and as it sinks
drink in the soft aroma
about your head
a blessing of sorts
filling the kitchen
It will rise with a cry
but not of pain
and you will sense
its heating your fingers
and raise your knife
glinting in the early morning sun
to caress it with butter
that oozes into its flanks
like the basting of meat
the dressing of salad
and gives it succulence
then red sweetness, the jam
like a fine coat for an evening out
and finally, like a rising of swallows
over cornfields, its taste
enters you and morning
is whole and complete.
There is nothing else to live for.
My daughter bakes freestyle,
Requiring no scales, she measures by instinct,
As generous with her gestures as she is with my butter,
She creates clouds of flour,
Shrouds the kitchen in icing sugar
And soon from the oven, sweet scents ooze out with a hug.
Venison slowly roasting in the oven
Vegetables and rowan jelly at the ready
Now for the skirlie to make it into a feast of the taste buds.
Not the old fashioned way of frying in dripping from the meat
Quickly, best oatmeal mixed with chopped onion, salt and oil
three minutes in the micro.
The crowning Scottish glory of the feast.
Baked at 57 degrees (North)
Fresh white bread - still soft from the oven
In a far country olive oil tops it
But here is heartier: goats’ cheese or salted butter.
Nothing to the preparation but freshness
Roast potatoes are not as hard as I once thought
Par boil, chill and watch the clock
Don’t heat too early
One hour’s blast is enough
To turn them into Rosemary’s coated Bon Bonsais.